Ever since I discovered that baby back ribs are easily purchasable in two-person quantities from Whole Foods, I was excited to try making them at home. They tend to be a restaurant-only dish, but the tender, savory meat would be great to have any night of the week. At around $10 for a rack, it’s not the cheapest dinner to make at home, but it’s cheaper and almost as fast and easy as going to out to get it – plus, you get to use your own sauce!
I’m still on the search for my perfect barbecue sauce: a little sweet, a little spicy, a little smoky – so I won’t share with you the sauce I did use on these. The beauty of this is that you can use whatever you have on hand and it’ll probably come out great. Seriously, the sauce I had is better on the ribs than by itself.
As for the oven fries, this was the first time I had the opportunity to make them, as I always make just enough for two with no leftovers. I was skeptical at the recipe I had for oven-baked polenta (no stirring, yay!) being six servings, and indeed I had about twice that! So, I spread out the remainder in a baking dish, then sliced and baked tonight. Voila, something vaguely fry-like!
Easy Baby Back Ribs (2 servings)
- 1 rack baby back ribs, about 1 pound
- salt and pepper (or, your favorite spice rub – tonight, I kept it simple)
- barbecue sauce, about 1/2 c. plus more for serving
- Preheat oven to 300.
- Turn the rack of ribs upside-down. You should see a thin, white membrane covering most of the back of it. Slide the tip of a knife underneath the edge, then grip with a paper towel and pull. The entire membrane should pull off. If it doesn’t, you can cook it anyway (I did!), but it does make the meat easier to bite and slide off the bone.
- Sprinkle both sides of the rib rack with salt and pepper. Seal in a double layer of foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake without disturbing for 2 1/2 hours.
- Remove ribs from the oven, open the foil, and spread barbecue sauce all over the top of the ribs.
- Preheat the broiler. Broil ribs for about ten minutes, or until sauce has caramelized and thickened.
Oven-Baked Polenta Fries (2 servings)
These were just fine in terms of taste and texture, but I think they would be even better cooked in a pan with oil or butter.
- leftover polenta, spread in a dish and cooled until firm – we used a piece about 6″x 9″, 1/2″ thick, or I would estimate the amount made by cooking approximately 1/4 c. cornmeal and 1 1/4 c. chicken stock (or water)
- salt and pepper, any other seasonings you desire
- Preheat oven to 400 (or broiler, which is what we did)
- Cut cooled polenta into french-fry-sized slices. Arrange on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with plenty of salt and pepper.
- Bake about 20 minutes, then flip and bake another 10-15 minutes. You want fries to be crispy on the outside, and starting to brown in some places.